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 Back in December, I signed up for Hanne Blank's 100 Days of Body Practice challenge. She even had a post that said Have a body practice goal? Win a book! This was my goal:

My body practice goal is to faithfully use the Couch to 5K program three times a week, because I’d like to have more stamina and better breathing.  And I want to feel positive emotions while I’m doing it. I don’t insist on “runner’s high,” but I’d like NOT to feel bored, or frustrated, or angry. Happiness, contentment, even smug self-satisfaction will do, just so that I don’t feel the USUAL emotions I feel when exercising for exercise’s sake, which are basically “I would rather be cleaning the cat box than doing this.”  Music doesn’t tend to alleviate it, because I wind up associating the music with the exercise and coming to hate it. I’m hoping audiobooks will help.

Considering that I actually won the book -- The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts  -- and it was terrific -- I figured I'd better follow through on it.

I didn't start on February 1, when the challenge did, because, first of all, I find it a lot easier to start three-times-a-week things on Mondays, and, for another, last week was a really bad week for brainweasels, and just getting out of bed was a challenge. But I started today.

It didn't go perfectly. First of all, it was COLD. Below-freezing cold. And I sort of misjudged things; I had a nice new pair of workout tights, but I should have put the windbreaker pants on over them. And I couldn't find my neoprene face mask -- a thing I seriously need for cold-weather outdoor exercise, because one of the triggers for that not-asthma breathing trouble I was having last year? Cold. I tied a scarf over my nose and mouth, but it was bulky and awkward.

Then there was the app. It's set up so it'll run with music in the background, but somehow when I started the music I paused the app without realizing it, and so I spent a good bit longer on the "warm-up" (brisk walking, in my case) than the program intended. And then when I re-set it I managed to have the music player in the foreground and the C25K app behind it, so it only vibrated in my little arm holder instead of beeping and talking to me when I was supposed to switch between walking and jogging, and I may have gotten them reversed. Between the elongated warm-up and the confusion, I was too tired to manage the jogging part on the last three signals, so I just walked. I did get back just as the "cool-down" started. And I did some long-held lunge stretches so hopefully I won't mangle my knees the way I did the last time I tried this. I also mostly used the nice new flat and even sidewalks that they finally finished on the main drag, so with luck I won't turn my ankles on uneven pavement.

In terms of emotional state? I do have to say that listening to Richard Armitage read the audiobook of Georgette Heyer's The Convenient Marriage  was an enormous help. Richard Armitage's voice runs probably a close third favorite of mine right after Paul McGann and Samuel West, who are actually tied for first, and that's my favorite Georgette Heyer novel, at least on alternate days -- the other one is Friday's Child. The audiobook is abridged, and I know the novel so well that I can spot some of where they've abridged it; they left out the monkey! And that Horatia's shoes pinched her, at an important moment. And a particularly catty line that the Earl's former mistress said. None of those were really important, but they also left out half an exchange between the Earl and his mistress right at the beginning, and it would have been better to leave it in, for the parallel structure, and for what it said about her. But, anyway, the intense familiarity of a favorite book plus the lovely voice worked a lot better for me than music to keep me from flat-out hating the exercise.

Because of the difficulties posed by nasty weather, I also broke down and joined a $10/month gym a few blocks from my house. You don't get free classes unless you sign up at $20/month, but that's okay with me, because I HATE classes. They make me feel clumsy and inadequate. They do offer you a free personal training session, which I'll take, because I don't know how to use all the equipment or how much weight I can reasonably lift if I use the weight machines. I think that at first I may just use the empty classroom so I can pay attention to my push-up and sit-up form in the mirror. and ask the trainer how to set up a cycle that matches C25K on the treadmills. There's also a pool, though I'm not sure that's for me, and a steam room, which is definitely not for me because guess what ELSE triggers my breathing trouble? And the locker room feels kind of grubby, so before I even consider showering there, I'll need to pick up a cheap pair of flip-flops or shower shoes. But, as it's only a few minutes from my house, there's no reason I can't shower at home.

I figure, if [livejournal.com profile] eternaleponine can go to taekwondo classes six days a week, I can certainly get my butt out the door and onto the sidewalk or into the gym. I had thought about joining the one that's right next to her dojang, but it's a lot pricier. $10/month is about what I'm willing to deal with.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll have fewer attacks of the brainweasels without having to change my meds.


rikibeth: (Default)
 That's what [personal profile] matociquala calls it.

I didn't start the Christmas story today, despite it being a tight deadline. Instead I was very very busy with other things, most of which were not writing-related.

One thing was. I sent a query to Storm Moon Press -- letter with <300-word blurb and a "marketing plan" -- which intimidated me until I got their clarification that it only needed to be a paragraph about what social media platforms I was on and whether I was willing to do things like blog tours and interviews (What? You want me to talk about my book? Go on, twist my arm!); a >500-word synopsis; and a partial manuscript. 30% only takes it through Alexander's return -- Caroline doesn't show up until about the halfway mark. While this makes sense tome -- the first half of the book is about Thorne and Rockingham, the second half of the book is about how Caroline changes that -- I'm hoping it's not a problem for someone reading a partial.

However, most of the day was spent testing out the combined capabilities of the Unfuck Your Habitat app and the new Reminders feature on my iPod Touch. In other words: housework.

Now, I am NOT good at housework. I used to brush it off with "I have better things to think about" while actually feeling guilty about not being able to keep things clean and tidy. A couple of years ago, I learned that it was more fundamental than that: I got diagnosed bipolar II and ADHD-inattentive. It was a huge relief, really, because it meant that most of the things I'd been viewing as character flaws were treatable. But it also explained my permanently messy environment: between how easily I get distracted and wander away from projects without cleaning them up, and the depressive troughs that, in bipolar II, are so much more disabling than the manic episodes, during which I can't be arsed to do any housework at all, and then the fact that marathon cleaning to try to overcome the chaos tends to tip me over into hypomania -- yeah, I default to living in a somewhat grubby Pile Of Stuff.And getting the right medications meant I had a better chance of keeping things tidy, but it still didn't teach me HOW to do it.

 So much for the mental health aspects. Anyway, I've discovered that the principles in Unfuck Your Habitat work
really well for me. If you have no idea where to start, you can tap the "Random Unfucking Challenge" and choose whether you want a five-, ten-, or 20-minute challenge. Or you can tell it which room you want to work in, and it'll suggest a task. But the best thing for me? You can make a master task list, and you tell the app what room it belongs to and assign a priority. Then you can sort the list by room or by priority. And when you start a task, it says "ready, set. unfuck!" and beeps at you after 20 minutes and tells you to take a break, and then it beeps again after ten minutes to tell you to get back to work. You can skip the break, but it asks you if you're sure.

And it claims that if you finish everything on your To-Unfuck List, you unlock an achievement.

I don't know if I'll ever get there, because I can see myself adding things to the bottom of the list as the top ones get knocked off. But it's a lot of fun to use. I made a big list Sunday night when I was stuck with insomnia. Since then, I've done about five loads of laundry, which gets me caught up, and I finally got on top of the dishes to the point where I CAN clean as I go. Today? Put my storage crates back under my bed instead of having them stacked next to it, made all my DVDs vertical because it was driving [personal profile] eternaleponine up a wall, cleared off the kitchen table, put all my plastic-sheet-protected recipes back in their zipper binder, and CLEANED THE KITCHEN FLOOR. 

And the Reminders feature? It's sort of a hybrid between a to-do list and a calendar. I didn't set any reminders for future days, but I made a list today, and it lets you put a time on it and it'll beep at you to do it. I didn't do the things in the order I'd put them down, because I had gotten my first good night's sleep in DAYS last night, and I was slow getting started this morning. But I made a necessary phone call, and sent the query, and did the initial test for the 100 Push-Ups Challenge (I'm trying again -- third time's the charm?); cleaned the kitchen floor, made an apple crisp, and made dinner; and I looked up how to make a functional rather than a chronological resume and bookmarked the page. The only things I'd put on today's list that I didn't get done? Sorting the clothes on my chair (the sort of stuff that doesn't necessarily get washed every time, so if you're a messy person like me you put it on a chair instead of hanging it up in the closet again) -- and STARTING THE CHRISTMAS STORY.

I'm probably not starting it tomorrow, either, because we're going to the Big E. My mother would make a disapproving face at me for that -- she deals with the fact that I'm never going to go to services on Yom Kippur again, but she'd probably think that eating my way through a multi-state fair was a bit much. 

Depends how long we stay there. I might take a crack at it when we get home. I won't have to cook or do dishes, after all.

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